Senator Hagan Moves To Protect Television Access for Rural Communities
November 20, 2013
Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Kay Hagan announced that along with a bipartisan group of 22 Senators, she sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler urging the FCC to consider the critical role of translators and low power television stations in delivering over-the-air television to rural communities after the upcoming spectrum auction to free up more frequencies for wireless broadband service.
“Countless farmers and ranchers, small businesses and families living in remote areas rely on receiving over-the-air television through translators and low power televisions stations,” wrote Hagan and her colleagues. “With this is mind, we ask the FCC to minimize the impacts of repacking spectrum in rural areas following the upcoming incentive spectrum auction.”
In 2012, Congress authorized the FCC to conduct the first-ever voluntary spectrum incentive auction to allow wireless broadband service providers to purchase frequencies currently held by television broadcasters. The FCC will subsequently reprogram television broadcast spectrum, and there is concern that localized programming and service to rural communities could be interrupted. The legislation did not protect translators, which carry television signals from original broadcast centers to mostly rural areas, or low power television stations, which are localized stations that offer niche programming and serve diverseaudiences. There are 93 translators in NorthCarolina, and 32 low power television stations.
To read a copy of the letter, click here.
“[O]ur constituents rely onover-the-air television to access vital news programming, weather updates, emergency announcements and educational and entertainment content,” continued Hagan and her colleagues. “While we recognize that the repacking process will inevitably lead to changes for translators and low power television stations, we urge the FCC to ensure that access to quality over-the-air television is preserved.”